The aim of the present integrative review is to identify and describe risk factors and triggers that may result in patient-initiated violence on inpatient psychiatric units. Original studies were searched for in PubMed, PsycINFO, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. From the 826 identified publications, 18 were included for a synthesis. The results are presented in three themes, which demonstrate that patient characteristics, staff approach, and the ward environment are influencers that may trigger the emergence of violent incidents. Incidents are discussed from the theoretical framework of complexity science as dynamic, highly variable in manifestation, and adaptive, in that the forthcoming process and outcomes are highly dependent on how the surrounding environment responds. Our recommendation is that staff on inpatient wards recognize the myriad influencers that may trigger inpatient violence in a context of highly complex interactions.
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